Cowbridge Sawmill at Timberscombe will be opening its doors for National Mills Weekend on Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 May.
Records show that there was a corn mill at Cowbridge as far back as 1341. The mill prospered as a corn mill for six centuries but was converted to a sawmill in 1904. By the time last tenant retired in 1993 the building was in a derelict condition. It was in this state that Owen Rush purchased the mill – much against the advice of his friends!
Owen’s vision was of a working vintage sawmill and forge. His first task was to renovate the dwelling house closely followed by the mill. Once the structure was safe, the restoration of the machinery began.
Volunteers with a wide range of skills and interests gradually came forward from the local community to restore the vintage machinery and install the shafts, pulleys, gears and levers necessary for the wheel to drive them.
Mr Rush has a substantial collection of historic machines, tools and artifacts for visitors to see on tours and Open Days. The working forge is now occupied by artistic blacksmith Belle Cole.
The site is a fabulous amenity for everyone who wishes to see our national heritage preserved. Volunteers are always welcome and appreciated and no particular skill is necessary. Whether or not you are mechanically minded, a visit to the mill is a fascinating step back in time. Why not visit and see the project for yourself?
Their Visitors’ Book contains many superlatives and accolades. Bearing in mind Mr Rush’s long-term vision, perhaps the most fitting comment was written by a couple from Bristol, “Mind blowing and inspiring. Thanks goodness someone is preserving our heritage.”
Cowbridge Sawmill will be open to the public on 11 and 12 May 2019 for National Mills Weekend and also on 14 and 15 September as part of the National Heritage Days. Guided tours will take place between 11am and 4.30pm and there are demonstrations of blacksmithing and woodturning throughout the day. Light refreshments are available. Parking and admission are free, but donations are much appreciated. Private tours of the mill are available by request. Further details can be found at www.cowbridgesawmill.org